Reality depends on the perspective of the observer

It is vital to the success of any process mapping and process analysis project to understand that each project member has an individual and limited perspective on the processes at hand, prior to the start of the project. Often longtime company employees become routine-blinded after years of habit and routine work. This can limit their ability to objectively examine company specific processes, which in turn hinders process mapping and analysis. Based on individual knowledge and experience process steps can be overlooked, examined superficially, or in too much detail and in the end the overall picture gets lost.

The parable of the "King of Savatthi", also known as "The Blind Men and the Elephant", illustrates clearly the influence individual knowledge and experience can have on ones own perspective of the overall picture. The parable is about several blind born men, who follow the king's order to research an elephant. Each of them examines a part of the elephant, but only one specific part. Based on their knowledge and experience the men make comparisons and assumptions on what an elephant is. Then they present their individual conclusions to the king.

perspective process analysis



The picture illustrates the different perspectives of the blind men, with the limited individual perspectives leading to differing realities. Individual experiences lead to specific, independent, and possible totally different deductions. Transfering this knowledge to a process mapping and analysis project, highlights to importance of having unbiased and open-minded project members. Important abilities in this context are understanding, tolerance, and appreciation of others' opinions, arguments, and perspectives.